A first-generation billionaire industrialist, Anil Agarwal has in just three decades built a globally diversified natural resources group committed to sustainable development with operations in India, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Liberia, Australia and Ireland.
The hallmark of his business has been the ability to create stakeholder value, specifically for the local communities with women empowerment, education and healthcare being the three core areas of his vision. Born in the capital of the eastern Indian state of Bihar, Patna in 1954, Anil Agarwal matriculated from Miller High School. His father was in the business of making aluminium conductors. He was just 19 when he arrived in Mumbai. In his initial years, Anil Agarwal used to collect scrap metal from cable companies in other states and sell it in Mumbai. In 1976 he started his own business as a scrap-metal dealer.
In 1986, Anil Agarwal ventured into the business of jelly-field cables by buying a plant at Illinois and shipping it back to India. The move substantially reduced the capital expenditure and this is how Sterlite Industries was born. Realizing that there was a short supply of copper, a raw material for cable business, Anil Agarwal thought of producing copper. In 1999, he started manufacturing copper rods. He went to Australia to learn about the technology of copper smelting, and from there flew down to the West Coast to buy a sick plant.
In 2000, Anil Agarwal bought two mines in Australia and one in Africa. When the Indian government announced the disinvestment process, he successfully bid for Bharat Aluminium (Balco) and picked up 51 per cent stake for Rs 550 crore. He then invested Rs 4,000 crore for its modernisation.
Known for making acquisitions a habit, Anil Agarwal then picked up controlling stakes in Hindustan Zinc, Konkola Copper Mines in Zambia, India’s biggest private iron ore miner Sesa Goa, and the zinc business of UK's Anglo-American.
The 58.5% acquisition of Cairn India on December 8, 2011 marks the Group's entry into the oil and Gas sector. The transaction is the third largest ever acquisition by an Indian enterprise globally. In 2003, Anil Agarwal included all his business units under Vedanta Resources and enlisted it in the London Stock Exchange. He became the first ever Indian to go for a primary listing in London Stock Exchange followed by the biggest public issue by the first ever Indian company in NYSE in 2007.
His passion for inclusive growth has resulted in extensive benefits to the local communities. Vedanta is actively engaged in sustainable development and philanthropic activities. About 3000 Aangwandis, supported by the group, cater to 1.25 lakh children, while as many as 2.5 lakh children receive nutritious meals every day through the mid-day meal programme at schools and investments in providing computer education has benefitted about 10 lakh students. Hospitals and mobile health centres and rural health posts have provided healthcare for over 22 lakh people. The group also supports more than 2,000 women empowerment and self-help groups in setting up micro-enterprises involving more than 35,000 women.
In recognition of his outstanding achievements, Anil Agarwal received the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 Award and the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award 2009’ by the Mining Journal, one of the most reputed international weekly magazine.
He symbolizes the long enduring journey coupled with passion, vision, success, and now charity with his active presence on the Board of Trustees of Vedanta Foundation. Mr. Dwaraka Prasad Agarwal, the Founder of Vedanta Foundation, the social arm of Vedanta Resources, was born in a business family at Ringus (Rajasthan) on the 12th of February 1932. He went on to pursue his academic interests in the city of Kolkata following which he joined the family business with his father at a very young age. However, the Agarwal family decided to shift to Patna after few years and setup a manufacturing business focusing on metal grills and gates.
He excelled through the business challenges in the era of industrial revolution owing to his sheer business acumen and strengthened his position as a business visionary. Feeling the pulse of the Indian economy then which was primarily a agricultural society he diversified into manufacturing of irrigation equipment in the year 1962. Further he went to establish metal conductors business with his eldest son Anil Agarwal. There was no stopping to his entrepreneurial spirit which triggered the acquisition of the Sterlite industries in the year 1976. Since then , Mr. Anil Agarwal took over active control to manage the acquired company which acted as a catalyst for the company setting new benchmarks in the competitive industry and placing the Vedanta name on the global map. Seeing the success of his sons management skills, he realized its time to take a sabbatical from business and pursue his passion for social endeavors.
He set on a serious mission for supporting causes with high potential for social impact. Realizing the need of serious commitment towards social development, he established a Charitable organisation with the mission and vision of attaining high impact social development among the underprivileged masses and named it Sterlite Foundation. It was then the era of the IT revolution which inspired him to create a infrastructure supporting development of basic IT skills especially among the deprived masses of the country. He setup the first computer training centre at vithalwadi, a suburb in Mumbai on the 15th of September in the year 1992 which also happens to be the establishment day of Sterlite Foundation now known as Vedanta Foundation.
Fondly known as BABUJI , it is his passion for charity & hunger for larger social goals which has been the driving force of the Foundation for consistently achieving new heights of social development since its inception. He is one of his kind social entrepreneur at his age and continues to be the active driving force behind the Foundations social endeavors.
He also compiled his rich business & social learning’s in the form of a book named "VAT VRIKSHA KI CHHAON MEIN". The book is worth every word coming from the heart & experience of a business stalwart with a heart for social development of the masses.
Suman Didwania was born in a reputed business family and spent her early childhood in Patna. Her father, Shri. Dwarka Prasad Agarwal held the reigns of the business and her mother guided her in the family and relationship matters. Graduating from Patna Women’s College, she could have easily been one of the most successful entrepreneurs. However, the dark realities of life around and the teachings of her parents made her choose a way of life where she could improve the lives of downtrodden fellow countrymen.
This gave rise to her family to set up what is today one of the most prominent vehicle of public benefit in terms of education and employment. THE VEDANTA FOUNDATION was set up as a Corporate Social Responsibility venue for betterment of peoples’ lives.
The EIGHTEEN years that the foundation has been tirelessly working towards the targets, Suman Didwania has been the provider of vibrant ideation and also a scrupulous administrator to see that the targets are met.
With the immense success of her projects, her aim today is to increase the base activities of the Foundation to more areas and also increase the beneficiaries.
The flagship programs started under her visionary guidance have attained the seal of approval from authorities. The Foundation today provides underprivileged youth with basic computer education. This program is geared to enable these trained youth to qualify for remunerative jobs in prominent Indian industrial and business sector and thus place them in mainstream society.
For more than 1000 dedicated employees of the Foundation Suman Didwania is known as Suman Didi. Under her leadership, they reach out to the underprivileged and bring them to the mainstream society. The Vedanta Foundation team works with the complete support of various State Governments as also the Government of India. Government run bodies such as Maharashtra Labor Welfare Board and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai also provide the much needed impetus to the programs.
The focus of Vedanta Foundation has been mainly on Vocational Training, Employment, Women Empowerment and Child Welfare.
Whatever free time is available through the constant activities of Vedanta, Suman Didwania enjoys reading and travelling. She has a keen interest in spirituality.
Social, Simple, Caring are the words that describe Mrs. Kiran Agarwal, the trustee of Vedanta Foundation and the wife of Mr. Anil Agarwal the chairman of the Vedanta Group of companies. Born on 22nd of Jan 1958, at Sanganer in Rajasthan, and grew up in Patna with strong family values. At the age of 17 she married Mr. Anil Agarwal. Since then she has fulfilled her family commitments to the best of her abilities and has been the woman behind the success of her husband Mr. Anil Agarwal. She has been the pillar of support to Mr. Anil Agarwal in the perusal of his ambitious business endeavors. Personally, she is an avid reader. Inherently passionate about whatever she does whether it is reading a book or at home doing her regular chores. Her love for reading inspired her to write books titled “My pooja room”,…….. . Music is close to her heart which naturally motivated her to develop a liking for singing which has become her hobby.
As a trustee of Vedanta Foundation, she pursues her passion for social causes. Concerns related to Children and women are close to her heart, making their way to the social development priorities being addressed by the Foundation. The Foundation supports the underprivileged children and women through its focused initiatives under the guidance of Mrs. Kiran Agarwal. She makes it a point to visit and attend programs to the best of her available time as an opportunity to meet and interact with the underprivileged children and women.
"The Foundation continuously upgrades their programs and tailor makes it for the benefit of the beneficiaries. The aspiration is to consistently work towards positively impacting the development of communities and enable the world to become a better place."